Sber names region where people visit doctors most often and procedure that saw seven-fold increase in popularity y-o-y

Dec 17, 2020

The analytical portal SberIndex and SberHealth, an online healthcare platform inside the Sber ecosystem, have registered a dramatic year-on-year increase in the number of Russians seeking medical advice in public and private clinics in 2020.

According to SberHealth, in September and November 2020, the number of visits to specialists increased by about 5% compared to the fall of 2019. However, if visits to doctors are combined with diagnostics (tests, X-rays, ultrasound, etc.), the dynamics read that Russians are seeing healthcare workers 21% more often. This coincides with Sber’s analytical data quite accurately. According to it, the coronavirus epidemic has led to an increase in demand for FFS healthcare among customers. Compared to the first quarter of 2020, the overall demand jumped by almost 20%, while the frequency of visits and the average order value barely changed. As for the year-on-year dynamics, according to SberIndex, the most noticeable changes in Russian spending on medical services were recorded in August (+11.4% y-o-y), September (+13.3% y-o-y), and October (+7.6% y-o-y). In November, the metric was also growing but added a paltry 2.0% y-o-y.

The double-digit change, according to SberHealth, was largely influenced by the office visits and tests that were directly or indirectly related to the pandemic. The demand for computed tomography grew sevenfold year-on-year, and that for fluorography doubled. The number of visits to pulmonologists (59%), general practitioners (38%, an increase in visits with ARVI symptoms typical for COVID-19), cardiologists (27%), psychiatrists (25%), neurologists (20%) also increased. The average cost of visiting specialists increased over the year slightly (+5% y-o-y).

According to Sber analysts, the average bill – no matter the specialization of a doctor – between February and July increased to RUB2,584 from RUB2,482. By the end of November, it reached RUB2,680, up 12% y-o-y.

Anatoly Zinger, CEO, SberHealth:

“The higher number of in-person appointments with specialists and diagnostics in private clinics is due to the fact that some urban hospitals were redesigned to treat COVID patients. Accordingly, the number of places where you can go with a condition not related to COVID-19 is decreasing. The growing popularity of pulmonary services is evident, while a GP is the first specialist people go to if they suspect having the coronavirus. The increase in the number of visits to cardiologists, firstly, is because people with chronic heart diseases are in the risk group when catching COVID. Secondly, after COVID, many patients experience changes in blood pressure. Psychiatrists, shrinks, and counselors were more in demand when people stayed at home for a long time in spring and autumn. The main reasons people visit these specialists are emotional burnout, family problems, anxiety, and depression. The demand for neurologists also increased amid telework. Here, the reasons for appointments differ and often patients see a neurologist because of muscle pain after a previous illness, dizziness, or stress-related issues.” 

Sber analysts also confirm that the demand for medical services began to climb after the end of the first wave of the coronavirus this May and reached its peak by mid-October. Back then, the number of clients who paid for healthcare services per week was 19% higher than in 1Q20. After that, the demand started fading and in November remained at 105% compared to the pre-COVID period.

That said, the higher demand did not cause a noticeable increase in the frequency of visits SberBank clients pay to medical clinics. The average number of weekly transactions per customer who pays for medical services increased from 1.16 in late February to 1.172 in mid-July.

One may conclude that the base of customers visiting clinics expanded, but at the same time the behavior of new clients barely differs from the behavior of old ones: they do not visit clinics more often and do not spend much more there.

Broken down by regions, the largest increase in demand (October peak vs 1Q20) was seen in the Republic of Tyva (190%), Magadan Region (176%), Murmansk Region (173%), Nenets Autonomous District (168%), and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District (162%).

When publishing the materials, a reference to SberIndex (www.sberindex.ru) is mandatory.

SberIndex.ru is an analytical website by Sberbank that illustrates how life in Russia has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, you can find three key indexes on the website, all of them based on anonymized data. These are an incidence model, the consumer activity index, and consumer activity changes. The all-new Business section features the evolution of gross payroll and change in small business activity. The website also has other studies, including all SberIndex lab ones (former SberData).